A WRINKLE IN TIME, the latest film from director Ava DuVernay (Selma) is a fantastical journey through space and time that is visually astounding in both its heartwarming message and throughout its darker moments. The film boasts an A-list cast that includes Oprah Winfrey (Selma), Reese Witherspoon (“Big Little Lies”), Mindy Kaling (Inside Out), Chris Pine (Star Trek), Storm Reid (Sleight), Levi Miller (Better Watch Out), and Deric McCabe (Stephanie).
Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME is adapted from the classic book of the same name by author Madeleine L’Engle and is a sci-fi/fantasy story that centers around a young girl named Meg, who upon meeting three magical, albeit peculiar, beings, goes on a search for her missing father who disappeared shortly after discovering a new form of space travel. With her younger brother in tow, and a new friend who has appeared in her life, Meg must push through her hesitations, sadness, and anger to find the light within that will help her locate her father.
Going into this movie I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was familiar with the book; however, I never got around to reading it as a kid or as an adult. What I can say about the film adaptation is how visually stunning it was to see on the big screen. With colors that lit up the screen and ranged from neon to muted, A WRINKLE IN TIME is without a doubt a visual spectacle. Along the same theme, the makeup, costume, and art direction involved in this film are astounding and I found myself gravitated to the insanely unique design of the costumes worn by our three magical beings – Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who, played respectively by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling. If there is one thing A WRINKLE IN TIME doesn’t have to worry about it’s the overall execution of the film as you’ll be hard pressed not to walk away unimpressed with the overall direction of the artistic creativity.
In terms of the acting, what really sells A WRINKLE IN TIME is the young talent of Storm Reid and Deric McCabe. As Meg, Storm was able to showcase the teenage angst that she feels due to the disappearance of her father. I appreciated that her character wasn’t exaggerated but had a subtle sadness and distrust towards the world. On the flip side, her adopted brother Charles Wallace, played by Deric McCabe, is a ball of energetic lightning whose talents far surpass his tender age of six. Though I was impressed with everyone’s acting abilities in the film, I was most drawn to that of McCabe since he essentially plays two opposing personalities. I mean, I’m 34 and I can’t even do that! I also enjoyed seeing Levi Miller, who played Meg’s new friend Calvin. Having just seen him in the horror/comedy, Better Watch Out, it was refreshing to see him portraying a completely different character. Better yet, the fact this film has an acclaimed female director of color showcasing multiple characters of color, most notably one that is a strong female being brought up by two parents in an interracial relationship who adopt another child is beyond wonderful and I hope to see more of this type of inclusions in films to come.
For those of you who love horror just as much as I do, get ready. There’s enough creepy moments in A WRINKLE IN TIME to get your blood pumping. Actually, there’s one scene in particular that looks like it’s straight out of a hybrid episode of “Channel Zero” and “Black Mirror”. I actually felt my blood run cold during that scene even though nothing horrific actually happens. If you are a fan of those shows I mentioned you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when you get to the scene in this movie with the kids bouncing a red ball. I think this is the closest we are ever going to come to Disney doing their own version of a “Black Mirror” episode. Disney wouldn’t be Disney without the darker aspects of life and those moments come to the forefront about ⅓ of the way into the movie. These were my favorite parts of the film and as a lover of all things creepy, spooky, and scary, I thought Disney pulled it off perfectly so that it would still appeal to the adults but not scare kids (at least not too much).
My only issue with A WRINKLE IN TIME was I felt like the story was missing some key elements and the pacing was a bit off. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the film, I did, but I felt like the movie is more catered to those who have read the book. I wanted to know how Charles Wallace knew of the existence of the magical beings or why Calvin had no problem time traveling even though he barely knew Meg or Charles Wallace, let alone their father. These issues weren’t enough to dissuade me from the film, and I’m sure if I read the book I would understand a whole lot better, but I felt like by giving us a bit more of a backstory to how the magical beings came to be so close to Charles Wallace would have helped in understanding the overall story as a whole.
All in all, A WRINKLE IN TIME is without a doubt a beautiful spectacle. With themes that range from love, loss, regret, bullying, sadness, hope and beauty, there is something for everyone. If you are a lover of the dark and macabre, you will find a lot to love in A WRINKLE IN TIME. If you are a child, you will love the bright colors and funny antics of the some of the characters. If you are an adult, you’ll take away the message to always put your family first and to always make sure they know you love them. I’m curious to see if Disney will continue with the rest of “The Wrinkle in Time” book series, but until then, make sure you check out the film when it’s released this Friday, March 9th in theaters everywhere.
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